Staff, Management and Council

Questacon operates as a national cultural institution and specialist division of the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science with the remit to facilitate science engagement and awareness activities for the Australian community at a national level.

Questacon's staff are members of the Australian Public Service and include educators, science communicators, actors, exhibit designers, electronics technicians, wood and metal workers... over 200 of us! We're also lucky to have 80 or so volunteer explainers—some, retired scientists and engineers; others, students and interested members of the community, all here to help you get the most out of your visit.

Together, we work to bring you interactive science exhibitions, science shows, outreach programs and more.

Management and Executive

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Professor Graham Durant AM, Director

Graham Durant was appointed Director of Questacon in 2003. He is an experienced museum and science centre leader with a distinguished academic background. Originally trained as a geologist at the University of Wales, Graham spent 25 years at the University of Glasgow where he was awarded a personal professorship in science interpretation and communication. In Scotland he played a significant role in the establishment of the Glasgow Science Centre which opened in 2001.

Graham is a Divisional Head in the Department of Industry and Science, helped develop the Inspiring Australia strategy and is a Visiting Fellow at the Australian National University. He was awarded an AM in 2012.

Graham has served six years as an ASTC Board Member and is a leading advocate for the development of the global science centre sector.

Read Graham Durant's bio.

 

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Ms Kate Driver Deputy Director and General Manager, Operations

Twitter -  @kmadriver and @questacon

Kate Driver LLM, GDLP, LLB (first class honours) (University Medal), B. Soc. Sc., ATCL, GAICD

Kate is the Deputy Director of Questacon – Australia’s National Science and Technology Centre, overseeing the operational aspects of all Questacon’s local, national and international activities.

Following her graduation on a full performance based undergraduate scholarship with First Class Honours and a University Medal in Law, she later moved away from legal practice and worked across a variety of roles in Federal Government, joining Questacon in 2014.  In 2017 Kate was a State Finalist in the Australian Leadership Excellence Awards for Outstanding Leadership and Management in the ACT, and has also been awarded an Australian Day Medal for her work in the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science.

Kate brings experience across a number of fields including: senior leadership, law; strategic policy; program management; policy implementation; corporate governance; change management; property; security; business continuity; and human resource management. Drawing from her skills and experience across a variety of senior roles in the public sector, and prior to that as a private practice solicitor, Kate’s reputation has been built on a foundation of delivering quality results with an emphasis on excellence in stakeholder management and leadership.

In 2017, Kate commenced her PhD research into incremental innovation models, public policy and the impact of science centres on society and transformational change.  Kate is a Visiting Fellow at the Centre for the Public Awareness of Science at the Australian National University.

 

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Dr Bobby Cerini, Deputy Director and General Manager, Science and Learning

Dr Bobby Cerini has recently been appointed as the Deputy Director and General Manager of Science and Learning at Questacon. She is responsible for quality and creative direction, national strategic engagement and impact of Questacon’s Science and Learning activities. In this role she works closely with managers to deliver Questacon’s successful exhibitions and programs, and with a wide network of senior stakeholders from the science, academic, cultural, business, government, industry and community sectors to deliver science learning and engagement outcomes throughout Australia.

Bobby is a dynamic, proactive leader with recognised expertise in science communication and STEM engagement, gained over the last 20 years in leading initiatives for government, cultural and academic organisations in Australia, the United Kingdom and New Zealand. Throughout this period, she has contributed to many successful STEM initiatives, including leading implementation of the national Inspiring Australia network and major campaigns, including National Science Week.

Bobby represents the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science on a variety of STEM program boards across Australia, and in key national and international stakeholder networks including the Asia Pacific network of science centres and museums (ASPAC) and the Public Communication and Science and Technology network (PCST). She is currently a member of the national advisory board for Astro 3D, the ARC Centre of Excellence for All Sky Astrophysics in 3D.

Bobby holds a PhD in science communication, with research into the influence and impact of contemporary science heroes (ANU). She has previously been awarded a Chevening Scholarship in Science Communication (British Council, UK) and holds a Graduate Diploma in Science Communication (ANU) and a Bachelor of Science Degree (University of Melbourne).

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Dr Stuart Kohlhagen, Senior Fellow

Stuart has worked with Questacon since 1979, working with the founding Director to help establish many aspects of our current activities. During this time he has lead the design and development of interactive exhibits, he has also helped shape and deliver many of the programmes, shows and demonstrations that form a key part of Questacon’s activities and outreach programmes. Stuart has lead the delivery of numerous international workshops on exhibit development and has been especially active in supporting professional development of science centre staff from diverse countries.

Stuart is closely involved with the University of Canberra’s School of Science and Education in facilitating the development of the new Masters of teaching course and is President of the Australian Science and Technology Exhibitors Network (ASTEN).

The Deputy Directors manage the following areas:

  • Senior Manager Centre, Retail and Tourism – Tristan Hoffmeister
  • Senior Manager Operations – Sally D’Addio
  • Senior Manager Learning Experiences – Jared Wilkins
  • Senior Manager National Programmes – Tamara Niznik
  • Senior Manager Strategic Engagement and Business Development – Craig Whelan
  • Senior Manager STEM Content – Rod Kennett
 

 

Advisory Council

The Questacon Advisory Council provides advice to our Minister and the Questacon and departmental Executive on a range of issues related to our remit and activities. The Advisory Council provides an important connection to practising scientists, researchers, educators, business leaders, philanthropists and universities to help us deliver the best in interactive science. Members of the Advisory Council are appointed by our Minister.

 

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Mr Leon Kempler AM
Chair—Questacon Advisory Council

Mr Kempler is involved in various business activities. Leon is a Chairman of the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce. In 1998 he received a Medal of the Order of Australia for his tireless efforts and contribution for furthering Australia-Israel bi-lateral trade and relations.

Mr Kempler has been Chair of the Questacon Advisory Council since 2004.

Read Mr Kempler's Bio

 

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Mr Eddie Kutner
Deputy Chair - Questacon Advisory Council

Mr Kutner is founding Director of Central Equity Limited and is Executive Chairman of the Central Equity Group, and Founder and Chair of Wonderment Walk Victoria Limited, a not for profit established for the purpose of promoting art, science and knowledge. Mr Kutner is also Chair of the Q Australia Foundation, established for the purpose of advancing education and engagement in science and technology in Australia.

Mr Kutner has been Deputy Chair of the Questacon Advisory Council since 2016.

Read Mr Kutner's Bio

 

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Dr Gregory J Clark AC
Member—Questacon Advisory Council

Dr Clark is a Visiting Fellow at the Australian National University. Dr Clark has an outstanding career both in Australia and internationally. His experience ranges across a spectrum of industries from IT and communications to media, space and finance.

Dr Clark has been a member of the Questacon Advisory Council since 2015.

Read Dr Clark’s Bio

 

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Prof. Karin Barovich
Member—Questacon Advisory Council

Professor Barovich is Deputy Executive Dean in the faculty of Sciences at the University of Adelaide. She is a passionate science educator and geologist with research interests in the origin and geological evolution of the Earth.

Professor Barovich has a member of the Questacon Advisory Council since 2016.

Read Prof. Barovich’s Bio

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Prof. Ian Young AO
Member—Questacon Advisory Council

Professor Young is the Kernot Professor of Engineering at the University of Melbourne, Chief Executive with Conviro Pty Ltd and President, Cloud Campus Pty Ltd. He was previously Vice-Chancellor at the ANU from 2011 to 2016.

Professor Young has been a member of the Questacon Advisory Council since 2016.

Read Prof. Youngs’s Bio

 

Ms Jamila Gordon
Member—Questacon Advisory Council

Ms Gordon is CEO and Founder of Lumachain, a technology platform that disrupts traditional enterprise supply chains globally. She was previously the Group Chief Information Officer of Qantas Airways and Leighton Holdings/CIMIC, and prior to this, a global executive with IBM based in Europe.

Ms Gordon has been a member of the Questacon Advisory Council since 2019.

Read Ms Gordon's Bio

 

Prof. Elanor Huntington
Member—Questacon Advisory Council

Professor Huntington is Dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science, and the first female Dean of Engineering, at the Australian National University. She was previously the Head of School of the School of Engineering and Information Technology at UNSW Canberra at the Australian Defence Force Academy.

Professor Huntington has been a member of the Questacon Advisory Council since 2019.

Read Prof. Huntington's Bio

 

Mrs Jane Urquhart
EX-Officio Member—Questacon Advisory Council

Mrs Urquhart is the Head of Science and Commercialisation Policy Division at the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science. She previously held a number of prominent international posts at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Mrs Urquhart has been a member of the Questacon Advisory Council since 2016.

Read Mrs Urquhart's Bio